Bits: Aer Lingus applies to join the BA/AA/IB US JV, No 1 Lounge changes at Edinburgh, IHG’s OpenTable restaurant deal

Links on Head for Points pay us an affiliate commission. A list of our partners is here.

News in brief:

Aer Lingus applies to join the transatlantic joint venture

Aer Lingus submitted its legal application this week for anti-trust immunity to allow it to join the transatlantic joint venture led by IAG.

At present, British Airways, American Airlines, Iberia and Finnair operate their flights to and from North America as one company.  All of the money, irrespective of which airline is flown, goes into a pot and is then distributed to the four airlines under a complex formula.

Aer Lingus has now applied to join this joint venture.  This does not automatically mean that Aer Lingus will also join the oneworld alliance.  Interestingly, the application states that Aer Lingus can continue its current codeshares with JetBlue and United and in theory can add further deals on top.

There will be some changes.  Whilst you currently earn Avios flying with Aer Lingus, British Airways does not currently offer tier points in the Executive Club unless it is on a BA codeshare.  This would change if the joint venture is approved.

The full legal submission is here if you want to read it.  Don’t expect this to be approved rapidly, however.

No 1 Lounge Edinburgh

Big changes for No 1 Lounges at Edinburgh

No 1 Lounges is planning big changes at Edinburgh Airport in the New Year.

The current No 1 Lounge in Edinburgh, which I reviewed here and is pictured above, is closing permanently on 3rd January.

On 28th January, a brand new No 1 Lounge will open.  It will be by Gate 16 and will have a fully manned bar and panoramic views over the runway.

If you are looking for an alternative lounge at Edinburgh during the closure, here is my review of the Aspire lounge which is in Priority Pass and Lounge Club, and here is my review of the British Airways Galleries lounge.

The dedicated page for the Edinburgh lounge on the No 1 website is here, but oddly makes no reference to the closure!  Thanks to Richard for this.

IHG Rewards Club OpenTable restaurant bookings

Earn IHG Rewards Club points with OpenTable

If you’re booking a restaurant – even a casual dining one – over Christmas and New Year, remember that you can earn IHG Rewards Club points when you book restaurants online.

Via this page of the IHG website, you can make restaurant reservations globally.  The place I booked for our family today only offers 150 IHG Rewards Club points per booking, but I will get 500 bonus points because it is the first time I have used the service.

(And, next time, I’ll book via my wife’s account!)

The IHG service is a white label version of OpenTable, so any restaurant which appears there should appear.  You can book here.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

Time running out to register for the Marriott MegaBonus
Important dates for your diary - offers about to close which you shouldn't miss
Click here to join our email list and receive all of the latest Avios, miles and points news by 6am.

Amazon ad
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.


  1. The IHG Open Table offer has been around for a year or so. I did it when it first launched and the 500 bonus points posted quickly.

  2. I still reckon it’s better to use OpenTable directly especially if you look out for 1,000 point tables.

    • What points can you earn booking directly?

      • Adds up to restaurant discounts

      • flyforfun says:

        2000 Points (20 normal visits) gives you a dining reward of a £10 to £20 voucher depending on the restaurant. Some restaurants have 1000 point visits, but these tend to be pricey ones. Did Rowleys in Piccadilly on a whim and was very disappointed.Not worth the price we paid, but I suppose it worked out cheaper than going to 10 restaurants to get 1000 points that way.

        • For the bonus points, restaurants pay OpenTable more money for these bookings, to try and get more business that way. If anyone is interested in how it works, it tends to be something like 25p per person for bookings made through the restaurant’s own website, £2 per person if booked directing through OpenTable and then £5 plus for the bonus point bookings or special featured deals (3 courses for £30 and the like)

          Obviously if you’re Gordon Ramsay or similar you’ll likely pay less than the above.

  3. Just to add that the OpenTable points are elite qualifying for IHG status.

  4. Interesting, I was wondering if there was going to be a lounge in the new bit of the airport that was opening up! Looks like it could mean Aspire is no-go for PP over the next month though, as it is they often have to turn people away and assuming they start getting all the airline premium cabin pax from No 1 for the short term (which would seem a definite possibility) I can’t see them coping with many more people!

  5. On the topics of Lounges, is there a comprehensive list of LHR T5 lounges (ideally with reviews) and access requirements?

    • Third party wise it’s Plaza or Aspire. Unless you pay outright, Plaza you need Amex Plat or DragonPass and Aspire you need PP or Lounge Club I believe. I haven’t used either but every single third party lounge I’ve been to I’ve always thought they’re crap compared to airline lounges IMHO. People say Plaza is better than Galleries though.

      • Aspire in T5 is dreadful – rammed full with hardly a seat and pretty uninspiring food options. Plaza is excellent, TBH I prefer it to Galleries Club North as I find it quieter and with hot food options all day.
        Often use it when departing for a domestic flight as they’re normally from gates A1-5 anyway, so right next to it.

      • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

        I’d say Plaza has better food, Galleries has better booze.

  6. O/T: PSA – I didn’t have the £200 off £600 Amex Travel offer showing in my Amex (Platinum) offers last week when lots of people did, but looked this morning and I now do. So it’s worth re-checking

    • Result! Now to check your additional card (and if you don’t have one apply for it :D) – I’ve found about half my offers appear on the additional card, including this one.

    • Maybe someone knows better but my guess is if uptake slows they make it available to more people. But it maybe more complex, or less controlled. I got an email from Amex about offers, two of which I wanted. Logged in, not there. Phoned up and agent claimed they’d been fully subscribed which is why I couldn’t see them. Said what was point of email which I’d received a few minutes before login, normal BS from someone that really didn’t know much about the subject. Two days later both offers, amongst others, appeared in my account.

    • I just checked amex and found a new offer. £25 back on £100 spend at Bloomingdales. Strangely you do have to pay in “Great British pounds.”

      • RussellH says:

        Got that too!
        It also talks about being aware of the exchange rate, so I would guess that paying in GBP refers to us paying Amex?
        A singularly useless offer for many of us, I would guess.

        The one I like is my 10% off at Morrissons througout the month. Must have used it 6 or 7 times by now…

        • Ditto for Morrisons, best Amex offer ever – on course to pay my Plat fee for the year! Love how it was on all transactions rather than just one (and that I’ve found a store that has a self checkout that doesn’t use scales – makes gift card purchases way easier!)

        • Plus sale and return at majestic, 100, 25 back, not bad this time of year…

  7. Help please! I have managed to book 4 CW tickets for our family to Bangkok in August on the dates we need but we would like to go on to Danang Vietnam and Koh Samui can anyone let me know if we can book onward flights with Avios and if so how we find the flights as I can’t find them through BA or is it best to pay cash? Any help much appreciated.
    Thanks to this site for achieving this in the first place.

    • Degsy I wouldn’t waste miles on these flights, particularly Vietnam , where there are more flight options. Flights are very cheap.
      Bangkok Airways can also give incredible flight/ hotel packages.

    • For Koh Samui it’s cheaper to fly to Surat Thani and get the ferry over.. actually quite a good way to travel and didn’t take that long.

    • Memesweeper says:

      If you can, routing via HKG gives better Avios connection options into Vietnam.

  8. O/T, comparing a weekend European break on Amex Travel against BA holidays, the price is coming out at least £100 more on Amex Travel than BA holidays. I have the spend £200 get £50 Amex travel offer but even with that Amex travel is expensive compared against BA holidays. Is that normal as in Amex Travel is on the pricier side?

    • Amex Travel will always have extra fees, but shouldn’t be that expensive. Find out which bit of the trip is adding on the most. Typically I might pay £10 extra for a hotel booking £100+ or £10 per flight booking.

  9. Thanks Leo and Rob mc I just thought I had read somewhere on this site about using Avios for flights in the Far East for short journeys with BA partner airlines so I must be mistaken.

    • If you’re going from or to HKG or KUL or around Japan then they can be great value, but you’d be looking at indirect flights, so more expensive in Avios (and time).

    • Def useful to use avios all around Asia on CX and MAS. But saying that, always price up air Asia and the like for internals throughout the region. If you can get J on CX or MAS and you don’t have status, then the lounges are certainly worth it. Go for It!

    • Lady London says:

      You can and it can be an excellent use of Avios either booking close in, or on domestic flights on Continents where cashbprice is outrageously inexpensive.

      For hops around Asia what people here are saying is that there are many airlines that do these short hops round Asia for very low cash prices. So if you’re not in a position to waste Avios unnecessarily mostly your Asia hops can be done with these. Even upgrades on these might not always cost that much.

  10. Gin and Tonic Please says:

    I’ve been using the IHG OpenTable route for a while. It doesn’t always show the same availability as going on OpenTable direct, though I can’t always figure out why. Certainly seems to be he case for reservations that require a credit card to secure them.

  11. OT – E-rewards and Hilton – Points redemption from mid November has now credited in Hilton, know others were in the same boat of waiting so worth checking

    • David Dunphy says:

      Like the Marriott game points it may take a few days to process all of the points by Hilton. Currently waiting on a 7,000 point credit (third one this year, also done a Radisson credit for 4,500 to keep points alive). One thing from the e-rewards team was Hilton points may now take 8 weeks to credit rather than the 6 stated on the redemption page.

    • RussellH says:

      My 7000 still not arrived.
      Complained again to e-Rewards as they said to wait until yesterday.

      • I got mine a couple of days ago from 23/11. Still waiting on MR pts transfer from about 10 days ok.

  12. Graham Walsh says:

    Old clip but funny on boarding order.

    • Yes reminds me when you book CE and they don’t bother with the priority line call…

    Just been on your homepage and got redirected to some Flash install hacked page, perhaps your WordPress has been hacked or there was a dodgy advert!

  14. OT but I’ve got a way to meet an upcoming plat and also the referral gold spend for referring my parents, but not sure how to go about it.
    It’s HMRC payments and Thames water bills
    I understand curve are in beta stage to allow Amex, but is there a way I can do this in these 2 weeks?

    Thanks a lot

    • TW at co-op via paypoint

      Can’t help with HMRC, soz!

    • No, not in two weeks. If you get a Curve it will only allow Visa and MC for now for you.

    • Does your council take PayPal? Otherwise vouchers for places where you’d shop anyway. My OH loves doing “Home Improvements” so I’ve taken to buying B & Q gift cards at Tesco (thanks Harry!) so that he’s got them to hand when he starts on a new project!

    • Buy some bargains and sell them online in January, maybe you will make a profit!

      If you have the Morrisons 10% go and buy £1000 in vouchers just ask at customer services.

      • Thanks all! Love the community here,
        I think I might just go with billhop and pay the fee. I think it’s worth it for the quick spend and MR points
        Is there a limit for how much you can ‘overpay TW at co op

        Will also do the vouchers

        Nope council don’t take PayPal unfortunately, but I noticed my parents have a paper pay point card?

        • Is there a limit for how much you can ‘overpay TW at co op?

          From experience, yes – it’s quite heavily monitored by the cash management team at TW.

        • Yes, many of the utilities monitor overspend, and will refund to the direct debit account. Willingly, but not to push it. Gift cards for the supermarkets the best way, food petrol, plus BT prepay at co op too. BT love refunding overspends…just a thought!
          Def go for Morrison’s atm. Got all our gift cards in advance and Morrison’s own paper gift vouchers, which are VERY useful. Like Alan, we have probably got our plat fee back by now. And will use the 200 off 600 amex travel spend next month.

        • Don’t bother with Asda or Tesco if you want to use the vouchers for fuel.

        • ScienceTeacher says:

          You can use John Lewis / Waitrose Vouchers at Waitrose Petrol Stations (NOT Shells stations or Welcome Break stations with a Waitrose attached). Makes the £1.27/L for diesel slightly better…

        • I’ve used Tesco gift card for Tesco petrol. Are morrison gift cards good for morrison petrol?

        • Tesco banned gift cards months ago, yes to Morrisons, not sure about Sainsbury’s

        • Did that include their own GCs bought in-store? Certainly earlier in the year it was only the corporate ones (often bought through the likes of Zeek) that didn’t work in petrol stations.

    • ScienceTeacher says:

      Buy something from Apple.

      I worked there, and the refund process is “to the same card type”. Type is bolded. When you pay via. Apple Pay you can refund to any card on Apple Pay. So, add the Amex Gold to Apple Pay, and your Visa Debit. Refund to the Visa Debit.

      • Don’t have an Apple phone, would it still work with curve?, downloaded curve yesterday (thanks Rob for the referral)

        • If using curve it shows as a debit card, so just use a different debit card for the refund

        • If you’re not on Curve Beta (and you won’t be if you just downloaded yesterday), then you can’t top up Curve with Amex.

  15. Shoestring says:

    So I got dissed big time @Club Aspire T3 yesterday, they shamefully said they were full, nothing I said about ‘2 little ones, how about it?’ with a grizzly smile did any good, (though her glance seemed to go lower), my favourite girl from same place as our place in the sun I’ve chatted to before wasn’t on the front desk to it was obvs no go, thank you.

    I had to go for the poor man’s lounge yet again.

    3 pints of Guinness in the pub. £5.25 a pint now, but I got a very good bar stool.

    Should have taken a selfie. £15.75. What am I going to do with my 2 free Lounge Club passes?

    Compared to the 150,000 people who have been inconvenienced or worse (some were going to see expiring rellies) @Gatwick, it’s not too bad, I suppose.

    • Did you forget the xmas hamper bribe option?

    • Harry,
      Do we not have comeback on this PP lark. No entry for ages in there. Sorry you,didn’t get in.
      I figure we should have our receipts refunded by amex, as it is one of the perks of the plat card. Ok we have grainstore on LGW Sth, which is fab, use it twice in one visit, once for food, other for wine etc. We don’t mind that, but we don’t have that option in LGW Nth, to T5. Supposed to be better with new lounges opening in N LGW.

    • It’s stories like this that make me glad I spend £400 a year maintaining my Silver status instead of an Amex Plat…

      • Sometimes, just have to fly Paddy Air, from LGW to Dub. when fares are so low, not worth using RFS, anyway, by the time we refer each other for Plat, we are getting plenty extra avios, for the 1 fee, with pro rata refunds etc. But thinking, it might be worth paying the £5 reservation fee for PP lounges, just to get in, but also to,use Grainstore for goodies before boarding. Just thinking of optimum use.

    • I’ve given up with it at MAN. All smiles till you get out the Lounge Club or Priority Pass then all the empty tables are suddenly fully booked. Lucky enough to mostly be in CE or CW anyway these days so I’ve stopped factoring this in when calculating the worth of gold or platinum Amex.

  16. lady london says:

    I’d put Plaza T5 exactly half way between the Cathay Lounge in T3 (at least, pre-Accor) and Galleries Club. Plaza T5 has a slightly Asian feel which makes me think of the CX Lounge. But obviously it’s not on the same scale as the CX one.

    I’m doing my first visit to Aspire T5 tomorrow, hope it’s better than comments have been on here!

    I think commercially there is room for even one more non-airline lounge in T5. There’s so much pent-up Priority Pass demand and so far it seems as though Aspire is too overcrowded to be as nice as it could be. We’ll see tomorrow!

    • Agree, as it’s much more difficult now for folks to obtain Silver, they had to do something. Perhaps another lounge option will be considered. Space may be their restriction right now tho. Good luck, hope you got in!

  17. Any sign of the 250 Golden Circle points from the offer at the end of November yet on accounts yet?
    Said it was post in 2-4 weeks but no sign of it as yet for me!

Please click here to read our data protection policy before submitting your comment.